Bladder Infection

Bladder infection is a common urinary tract infection, which in most cases is caused by a pathogenic (disease-causing) organism. Burning urination, a frequent urge to urinate and abdominal pain are among the typical symptoms and can affect daily life.
In this article, we would like to offer you a comprehensive insight into the topic, from the basics of bladder infections to proven treatment methods and effective prevention strategies. We also highlight the role of naturopathic approaches, which can often have a supportive and preventative effect.

What is a Bladder Infection?

Bladder infection, also known as cystitis, is a form of urinary tract infection that causes inflammation of the bladder. A bladder infection is typically caused by pathogenic germs. In most cases, these are bacteria, such as Escheria coli, which enter through the urethra, subsequently colonise the bladder wall and trigger a local inflammatory reaction. For this reason, typical symptoms such as a burning sensation when urinating can occur.

Bladder Infection in Men

Men are less frequently affected by bladder infections because the urethra is longer in men and is further away from the anal region. Nevertheless, cystitis can also occur in men.
Typically, older men with prostate problems, catheters or urinary tract obstructions are particularly susceptible to developing a bladder infection.
The symptoms of a bladder infection in men often occur relatively quickly after the infection. However, a medical diagnosis should be performed to rule out other issues, such as prostatitis for example.

Signs and Symptoms of a Bladder Infection

The symptoms of a bladder infection can vary from person to person. In most cases, they can restrict everyday life and lead to a general feeling of discomfort.

The following symptoms can occur with a bladder infection:

  • Frequent urge to urinate without the bladder being filled (irritable bladder)
  • Weak urine stream
  • Burning or pain when urinating
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Urine with an unpleasant odour
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Fever, chills and exhaustion

It is important to recognise the typical signs of a beginning infection so that it can be treated at an early stage.

Acute bladder infection

Acute bladder infection occurs suddenly and shows severe symptoms that can be accompanied by pain and feelings of illness. They usually subside again after comprehensive treatment. However, acute cystitis can be prolonged and there is a risk of it becoming chronic.

Chronic Bladder Infection

Chronic bladder infection can recur over a period of time or last for a long time. A frequent urge to urinate, even at night, and pain in the lower abdomen are common conditions that occur repeatedly.
Chronic cystitis can permanently weaken the body and represent an enormous health burden. A more thorough investigation into the underlying causes is essential to restore health balance.

Possible Complications of a Bladder Infection

Untreated bladder infection can cause the infection to spread to neighbouring organs in the urinary tract and lead to serious complications.

For example, the bacterial infection in the bladder can spread along the ureters and lead to pyelonephritis. Such an inflammation of the renal pelvis often manifests itself through symptoms such as flank pain or fever.

Another complication of a bladder infection is the spread of the urinary tract infection into the blood, which can lead to septicaemia. Sepsis can lead to organ failure and circulatory instability and requires rapid antibiotic treatment to combat the infection.

It is important to treat a bladder infection at an early stage to prevent further spread to the kidneys or blood (sepsis).

Causes of a Bladder Infection

The causes of a bladder infection can be varied and can be triggered by different factors. The most common conventional causes include:

Bacterial Infections:

These are often caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract, with Escherichia coli being the most common type. E. coli enters the genital region from the intestine due to the small distance.

Anatomical Abnormalities:

Changes in the anatomical structure of the urinary tract, such as narrowing of the urethra, prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) or urinary stone formation, increase the risk of bladder infections as they can prevent the normal flow of urine and favour the proliferation of bacteria.

Use of Catheters:

Particularly in older people who rely on a catheter, placing the catheter directly into the bladder creates the opportunity for bacteria to enter the bladder more easily along the catheter. This can increase the risk of infection. Thorough cleaning and care of the catheter is therefore of great importance.

Sexual Intercourse:

Through sexual intercourse, bacteria can more easily enter the urethra and colonise the bladder, which can lead to a bladder infection.

Disturbed Intestinal Flora and Intestinal Diseases:

People with a disturbed intestinal flora (intestinal dysbiosis) are also more frequently affected by a bladder infection. Various intestinal diseases such as leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis also affect the immune system and intestinal flora, which increases the chance of developing a bladder infection.

Longitudinal multi-omics analyses link gut microbiome dysbiosis with recurrent urinary tract infections in women

The Role of Gut, Vaginal, and Urinary Microbiome in Urinary Tract Infections: From Bench to Bedside

Gut uropathogen abundance is a risk factor for development of bacteriuria and urinary tract infection

Immune Disorder:

An immune disorder, in which the immune system is either weakened or overreacts, may contribute to the development of a bladder infection.

The nature of immune responses to urinary tract infections

All of these multiple causes can increase the likelihood of bacterial spread to the bladder. It is therefore important to identify the individual causes and develop appropriate treatment strategies.

Risk Factors for Bladder Infection

Certain factors such as a weakened immune system, inadequate hygiene or anatomical abnormalities can increase the risk of bladder infection. The female sex is also a predisposing factor.
In addition, the vaginal bacterial flora and the intestinal flora play a decisive role in the risk factors for cystitis.

Understanding these risk factors can help you to take preventative measures and avoid a bladder infection.

Treatment of a Bladder Infection

There are conventional measures and complementary medical approaches for treating a bladder infection. It is advisable to always treat the cause of the illness as well. Here we look at the common treatment options for cystitis.

Antibiotics and Painkillers

Conventional treatment for a bladder infection often involves the use of antibiotics to combat the bacterial infection. Common antibiotics such as amoxicillin are often prescribed. They belong to the penicillin group and restrict the multiplication and growth of bacteria. The right antibiotic should be selected on the basis of an antibiogram.
Moreover, to relieve pain, painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol are used.

Cranberry Juice


Cystinol is a preparation containing bearberry extract. It has a broad antibacterial effect and thus reduces the bacterial load in the urinary tract. Bearberry leaves have a long history in naturopathy for urinary tract problems. They can also be taken as tea or in the form of food supplements.

Risk assessment of free hydroquinone derived from Arctostaphylos Uva-ursi folium herbal preparations

Bearberry in the treatment of acute uncomplicated cystitis (BRUMI): protocol of a multicentre, randomised double-blind clinical trial


Aqualibra contains goldenrod, horsetail and orthosiphon. These promote the flushing of the urinary tract and have anti-inflammatory properties. Aqualibra may be suitable for recurrent uncomplicated bladder infections.

Effect of a Herbal Therapy on Clinical Symptoms of Acute Lower Uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infections in Women: Secondary Analysis from a Randomized Controlled Trial

Homeopathic Globules for a Bladder Infection

Homeopathic globules are also widely used for a bladder infection. The homeopathic remedies used for cystitis include Apis (honey bee), Dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade) and Cantharis (Spanish fly) or Belladonna (deadly nightshade). It is important to consult an experienced therapist for the correct choice of homeopathic remedy.

Further Complementary Medicine Treatment

Other effective complementary medical treatments can strengthen the body, relieve the immune system and tackle the cause directly. These include the following methods, for example:

Hidden inflammations (silent inflammation) can also trigger other inflammations, such as a bladder infection. These can, for example, hide in the oral cavity as inflammation of the jaw.

Home Remedies for a Bladder Infection

Classic home remedies such as onion juice, nettle tea, warm sitz baths or sufficient fluid intake can help to alleviate symptoms.

You can often use these small home remedy tips in addition to your medical treatment.


Heat can help to relieve pain and discomfort in the lower abdomen. Heat can also improve blood circulation and optimise the local function of the immune system.

Adequate Fuid Intake

Sufficient fluid intake primarily serves to flush the bladder. Increased urination allows bacteria to be flushed out of the urinary tract.

Nettle Tea

Nettle tea can alleviate the symptoms of a bladder infection due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It has a diuretic effect, which further promotes the flushing of the urogenital tract.


Onions are said to have proven anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Onions can be included in the diet or consumed in the form of onion juice to prevent and treat mild forms of a bladder infection.

Prevention of a Bladder Infection

There are a number of measures that can help prevent bladder infection.
Preventive approaches include

  • Adequate fluid intake and regular urination
  • Urinating after intercourse to flush out germs that have entered the bladder
  • Proper hygiene
  • Healthy diet
  • Optimisation of the acid-base balance in the body
  • Improving the intestinal flora with probiotics
  • Drinking cranberry juice
  • Avoid hypothermia with cold hands and feet
  • Avoid smoking and reduce the consumption of alcohol.

Dr. med. Karsten Ostermann M.A.

To enable a lasting cure for a bladder infection, the individual causes of the disease should be identified and eliminated. The therapy should do as little harm to the body as possible, but support it as much as possible.

Dr. Karsten Ostermann

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about a Bladder Infection

Bladder infections have become a common problem these days. Those affected have many questions about it, which we will try to answer below.

Bladder infections are often caused by pathogens, such as bacteria, which enter the urethra and settle and multiply in the bladder. This can be caused by various factors such as sexual intercourse, inadequate hygiene or certain medical conditions. Read more about the causes in this article.

In most cases, a bladder infection is not contagious as it is caused by bacteria in your own body. However, it is possible for certain bacteria to be transmitted through sexual contact or sharing toilets, for example.

Blood in the urine is a well-known symptom of a bladder infection. You should have the condition checked by a doctor to rule out other illnesses and receive the best possible treatment.

The presence of bacteria in the urine is a common sign of a bladder infection. In most cases, your doctor will perform an antibiogram to identify the exact pathogen and determine the best treatment.

Yes, there are special test strips that test for the presence of nitrite, leukocytes and blood in the urine, which can indicate a bladder infection. These are also available in pharmacies.

Yes, some pharmacies offer self-tests for home use. These tests check for the presence of bacteria or inflammatory cells in the urine.

If you frequently suffer from recurring bladder infections, you should consult a doctor to determine the underlying causes and discuss suitable treatment options.

Yes, painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can be taken to relieve the pain and discomfort of a bladder infection. However, it is important to follow the dosage recommendations and consult a doctor if you have any concerns.

Yes, ibuprofen is one of the most commonly used painkillers to relieve the pain and inflammation of a bladder infection. It can help to relieve pain and reduce fever.

Yes, it is possible to have a bladder infection without pain. Some people may only experience mild symptoms such as increased urination or cloudy urine, without noticeable pain.

A bladder infection is often caused by bacteria and is accompanied by symptoms such as frequent urination, a burning sensation when urinating and cloudy urine. A fungal infection, on the other hand, often causes itching, redness and unusual discharge in the genital area.

It is recommended to drink about 200 to 300 ml of unsweetened cranberry juice daily to benefit from its anti-inflammatory properties. However, it is important to talk to your doctor as cranberry juice can interact with certain medications and is not suitable for everyone.

Further information

The information listed contains relevant topics and serves to improve understanding.